Anwar Ibrahim renewed his commitment and urged supporters to be patient as Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak prepares to assume power in the country.

“I ask you to bear with us; the challenges we face cannot be overcome in a single month and some may take more than a year to redress,” Anwar said at his party 5th Congress at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam, Selangor.

We “remain committed to the agenda for change and our tenacity has never been stronger.”

On March 8 general elections, Anwar engineered opposition biggest majority yet in parliament and denied Barisan Nasional a free hand at parliament. A few months later, on August 26, Anwar returned to parliament after winning Permatang Pauh by-election.

The charismatic opposition then faded from prominence after failing twice in September to convince government lawmakers to defect to the opposition. He may have another chance at the ballot box within a year, said analyst Khoo Kay Peng.

“Yes, there have been setbacks,” Anwar said today without elaborating further on the reasons behind Sept 16 failure.

“We skirted with destiny on Sept. 16 and despite our best efforts our march to victory has been delayed,” he said.

Global economic crisis concern

The global recession has made the economy Malaysians’ primary concern, rather than a change of government. According to a survey by the Merdeka Center in September, 50 percent of the public view the economy as the biggest issue, compared with 18 percent who ranked political instability as their top concern.

“The economy is in virtual crisis,” Anwar said. “More Malaysians are jobless, or will lose their jobs in the coming year then ever before in our history.”

Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat alliance is less than 12 months old and has never governed at a national level.

The opposition leader’s own party, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), is one of three in the People’s Alliance, which is 30 lawmakers short of a majority in the 222-seat parliament.

The opposition has pledged to end Malaysia’s system of preferences in employment and education for ethnic Malays and to reduce corruption. The ruling National Front, headed by the United Malays National Organisation, adopted a race-based system known as the New Economic Policy in 1971.

“Let us renew our commitment. Let us resolve to build on what has been accomplished this year and make Malaysia great once again,” said Anwar.